The previous review has got it spot on: this is absolutely 'stunning minimalist trip-hop-pop'! Last year I was transfixed by Burial's 'Untrue' and had that set to repeat on my iPod for months on end. Since owning 'XX' I have clocked up dozens of plays in just a couple of days. The album does carry a similar haunting ambience as Burial's amazing second album (by the way, they attended the same London school as Burial, Hot Chip and Four Tet) but it is a lot more than just 'minimalist' .
The female and male vocals gel together in a way which really shouldn't work on such a record. I can't think of any modern groups with such an arrangement. The best way to describe the female vocalist style is something between Bjork, Portishead's Beth Gibbons and Zero 7's Sia Furler with a soulful R&Bish force. Stand out tracks for me are 'VCR', 'Basic Space' and former iTunes single of the week, 'Crystalised'. Having said that, the whole album plays like a film score and, played as a whole, it creates one continual soundtrack to my daily commute. I really would be surprised and disappointed if 'XX' is overlooked for nomination for next years Mercury Music prize. These young guys deserve HUGE recognition.
What is golden about this album is that the group did not feel the need to throw in a couple of tracks to change the peaceful mood or to 'mix it up'. Critics will argue that this makes the record boring and monotonous but I think that it is key to its triumph. This record is a truly refreshing change to the indie chart topping malarkey which is going on at the moment!
If you are into 90s Trip Hop groups such as Massive Attack, Portishead or Sneaker Pimps, you'll love The XX . If you are after something chilled, slow and different 'XX' is for you too.
More importantly, if you wish to support genuine young British talent, you should buy this amazing effort. It's incredible that these guys are all still only 20 years old and hopefully have a lot more to offer.